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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Gifts (of the Spirit or service) (11/22/07)

TITLE: Joylynn's Special Room
By Sharon Henderson


Joylynn’s house was perfect for her family. Her two daughters each had their own bedroom with a Jack and Jill bathroom in between. Each room was perfectly decorated to suit their personalities. Samye’s room was decorated in pink with princess dresses dotting her walls. Mattie’s room showcased her love for music. Even the headboard on her bed looked like a piano keyboard.

There was just one room left to renovate. This room had to be special. It had to be different.

When Joylynn was very young, she felt the call to missions work. She studied hard to learn the memory verses in her Sunday School books. In school, she took Spanish and French, sure that one language or the other would help her once she was appointed ‘to the field’.

Every summer she went on youth missions trips to ‘exotic’ places like the Appalachian Mountains and inner city Atlanta, Georgia. While not really exotic, these trips confirmed for Joylynn that she was born to serve as a missionary. Nothing in her life gave her as much zeal for living as when she served a meal to a homeless person or when she taught a poor mountain girl how to plant a garden or sew a dress.

Joylynn’s first opportunity for foreign missions came right after her freshman year of college. Or it would have been an opportunity. Devastated does not begin to describe the disappointment and frustration she felt when she received the results of a routine physical. The results came in just two weeks before she was scheduled to fly to Haiti to work on rebuilding a church that had been destroyed by a hurricane the year before.

Her doctor explained to her that she had a heart condition that needed immediate surgery and would require her to remain on medication for the rest of her life. With proper care, she could live a ‘normal’ life -- get married, have a family -- but she would always need to live close to high-quality heart care facility.

No trip to Haiti and no life on the foreign mission field. However, Joylynn did not give up on her missions dream. She continued to look for ways to serve her Lord closer to home. Much closer to home. That’s when she had ‘the idea’.

This was her idea…if she could not go to the mission field, she would welcome the mission field into her home. One day she would have an extra room in her home dedicated to missions. Her vision for this room included everything from housing missionaries home on furlough, to helping a homeless unwed mother through her pregnancy, to providing overnight housing for a stranded out-of-town motorist. This was the room that she was currently renovating. This was the room that had to be both different and special.

As Joylynn headed out to the home improvement store to look for decorating ideas, she reflected on her calling. As a young person, unaware of what life held for her, she thought for sure that her spiritual gifts were teaching and evangelism, with some leadership thrown in for good measure. She would need those gifts to be successful as a foreign missionary. Through her growing up years and early years of marriage, her real gifts became clear. Her gifts would also be the name for this very special room. There would never be any doubt why this room was part of her home.

“As soon as I finish decorating this room, I’m going to put a sign on the door. The sign will simply state ‘Welcome to our Helps and Hospitality room’.” Joylynn would indeed be a missionary…right here at home…in her own home.

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This article has been read 896 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 11/29/07
How perfectly lovely!
Ann Renae Hair12/01/07
What a beautiful story. To be willing to follow the Lord, something very different than her plan, was truly following! No wonder her name is "Joy"lynn.
Dee Yoder 12/03/07
Lovely entry about how we can still have an impact and use the gifts God gives in clever and imaginative ways. Like this character and her wonderful heart very much.
LauraLee Shaw12/04/07
I love the heart displayed in this story and the way it beats for missions. I also liked the way you approached the topic AND the structure you chose to convey it.
Shelley Ledfors 12/04/07
Wonderful! Expresses an important message in a creative way.
Joy Faire Stewart12/05/07
This is one of my favorites this week. Unique and special approach to this week's topic.
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/05/07
This is a lovely way to show how one uses the gifts God gives, even if they aren't the gifts one expected to get.
Sara Harricharan 12/05/07
I liked this idea of a special room, the twist with her heart condition was a little unexpected, I thought she was going to be turned down for some other reason, but this one made it more believeable. I liked the thought of hanging a sign on the door. Great job here!
LaNaye Perkins12/05/07
You did a wonderful job of writing this entry. Your story kept my interest from first sentence to last. Wonderful!
Joanne Sher 12/06/07
Absolutely lovely, beautiful descriptions. I adore this - and a wonderful, wonderful message.
Sheri Gordon12/06/07
I love this illustration. So many of us do think our gifts are in one area, only to find out God had other plans. You did a good job in "showing" that rather than "telling" it. Good writing.
Yvonne Blake 12/10/07
RED PEN: I suggest starting with diagloge, maybe in the home-decorating store, and then tell why she's fixing up that room.
I love the idea of a "Help and Hospitality Room."
Patty Wysong12/11/07
Missions is in my blood (I'm an MK) so I REALLY liked this. *grin* RED PEN: I think that if you could incorporate dialog throughout the piece it would 'liven' it up. Also, find ways to show what your MC is feeling and doing, don't just tell us. I think this has good potential and it's a Good idea! Good job.